Australia Labor Leadership Battle

March 2, 2012 by staff 

Australia Labor Leadership Battle, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has survived a leadership challenge from Kevin Rudd in a damaging battle to head the ruling Labor party.

The nation’s first female prime minister retained office after beating Mr Rudd 71-31 in a secret ballot of the 103-member Labor caucus, although only 102 votes were ultimately cast with one member absent.

Returning officer Chris Hayes formally declared Ms Gillard re-elected as leader of the parliamentary Labor Party.

He said of the mood: “I think it is fair to say was reasonably tense.”

It was among the biggest-ever wins in a Labor leadership ballot.

Ms Gillard called the vote in a bid to end a bitter stand-off with her predecessor, whom she dumped as leader in 2010 in a shock party coup, and bring to a head a period of intense turmoil within the party.

Mr Rudd came to power in a 2007 election landslide that ended more than a decade of Conservative rule, but a series of policy mis-steps saw him lose the confidence of party chiefs and he was axed for the more pragmatic Ms Gillard.

Observers say he never forgave Ms Gillard and he dramatically quit as foreign minister last week before announcing a challenge for the top job, believing only he could save Labor from electoral annihilation in 2013.

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